Tea party with the Arisaemas

Yesterday, being threatened with snow and freezing temperatures, there was a big rush to cover and wrap up plants again. Some heavy containers and the early flowering potted Arisaemas had to be brought inside the house. Let it snow…

Today, a bit relaxed,  I couldn’t say no when I was invited to a cup of tea with all the Arisaemas.
The mother and son Arisaema sazensoo are having a new friend in Arisaema thunbergii subsp. urashima (syn. A. urashima). It was supposed to be an Arisaema ringens, but accidents happen and any Arisaema is more than welcome in our home. She has already made friends with everyone around and we got to listen to her story while sipping warm tea.

A. thunbergii subsp. urashima and A. sazensoo

At the tea party – A. thunbergii subsp. urashima and A. sazensoo

She said that the Japanese name – Urashima-so, comes from its long spadix appendage which reminds of a fishing line. In her native land of Japan, there is this legend about a young fisherman named Urashima Taro. After he saves a turtle from the hands of some children and returns it to the sea, the next day he is invited by the Emperor of the Sea at his castle (the little turtle he saved was actually the princess Otohime). By magic he gets gills and is brought to the Palace of the Dragon at the sea bottom.

The story doesn’t have a happy ending – after spending a few days at the sea palace, he wishes to return to his village and Otohime gives him a box (that he’s not supposed to open) to protect him from harm. But upon his return, he discovers that his home and his mother had vanished and he doesn’t recognize anything around. Actually, 300 years have passed since the day he had left for the bottom of the sea. In despair, he opens the box and by doing so he suddenly becomes an old man – the box contained its old age…

We listened in silence and then told her that it is nice to be named and be remembered after a fairy tale – not to mention her impressive ‘fishing line’!

Arisaema thunbergii subsp. urashima

Arisaema thunbergii subsp. urashima

Some gave it the common name of Dominatrix Cobra-lily, but I believe in fairy tales…

An early flowering Arisaema from section flagellarisaema; usually purple spathe and purple spadix ending up in a very long tail (a flagellate thread) up to 20-30 cm. It will go dormant in late summer but it may produce fruits. Offsets easily by contrast with A. sazensoo and A. sikokianum, hence it has become increasingly available and it is suitable for container culture.

Arisaema thunbergii subsp. urashima tuber

Arisaema thunbergii subsp. urashima tuber with emerging roots

4 replies
  1. Amy Olmsted
    Amy Olmsted says:

    I had a really nice A. urashima or was it thunbergii…anywho, it was doing great and then over a couple of years faded away. I would love to try the sazenzoo sometime…it looks amazing!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Even in best conditions after a few years they just fade away, as you well said it. The old tubers get exhausted but in most cases there are the new ones to keep it going.It is unfortunate with the ones that don’t offset like A. sikokianum and even A. sazensoo which barely produced 1 new tuber – but now there is hope for some seeds :) (I will share if I get lucky)

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